DANE’S DARTS: THE HONDA CLASSIC
The Florida swing is upon us as the Tour heads to Palm Beach for The Honda Classic. We will be in Florida for the next 4 weeks for some very fun events: Arnold Palmer Invitational, THE PLAYERS and the Valspar Championship. This is a very exciting time of year as we have 2 of the biggest events of the season coming up within the next 2 months. Honda is always a fun event as it is one of the toughest courses we see on tour.
As always, be sure to check out the RotoPros golf podcast that Chris and I record on Monday evenings. You can find it on the SoundCloud app on the RotoPros page. There we discuss the course and a general overview of our strategy for the week. If you subscribe to the RotoPros channel on SoundCloud you will be notified each time a new episode is posted!
As mentioned, my goal for this article is to break down each price range from a strategy/lineup construction standpoint. Once I do that, I will list a couple of my favorite plays in the range. I really want to help you by talking through how we can be different through construction and not necessarily just taking 3-4 < 5% owned players. That is one way I have really improved in DFS golf, understanding that you only must be different to a point. I usually focus on lower entry max GPPs (single entry, 3 maxes, and 5 maxes) but will speak to certain plays that are better in larger fields and cash games.
I build my models and do a lot of my early week research over at Gup’s Corner. If you haven’t heard of them, I would highly recommend checking out their products. New this year Gup and the crew released golf tools that include a research center. The research center is where I build my models and where I will reference stat info in each of my articles. Check them out! www.gupscorner.com
COURSE & KEY STATS
This week we have the Champion course at PGA National. This is a complete test of golf and as I mentioned, one of the toughest courses outside of majors. It’s not that I love to see these guys struggle (well maybe), but I really enjoy seeing them have to fight for their scores and grind their way through the round. Golfers this week will really need to be able to have control of their mental game if they don’t have their best stuff and don’t want things to get away from them.
We have bermuda grass this week with tight fairways and thick rough. This is part of what makes this place difficult. In addition, there is tons of water around here and players will need to avoid that to keep from making big numbers. The wind is the real defense here and I will touch on that more in the weather section.
As for golfer type this week I am focusing on the best iron players. I mentioned on that pod that I was favoring accurate guys off the tee a bit more than bombers. Since then I have backed off that a bit. If you look at the last few year’s leaderboards, you will find that most of those guys aren’t necessarily the most accurate off the tee but they are great with their approach game. So in summary, I am not favoring one type (bomber or accuracy) this week. It’s just really how each player’s game fits the course. Both can do well.
- SG: Approach (30%)
- SG: Ball Striking (20%)
- Prox: 150-200 (20%)
- Bogey Avoidance (15%)
- Good Drives (10%)
- SG: Putting (5%)
As of now it looks like we will see a normal week in Florida. Maybe some rain leading up to the tournament and then winds in the mid teens through the weekend. This will make the course a bit softer for players and maybe easier to hold the greens early in the week. The wind is the major factor this week and is part of what makes this course difficult. Wind and water. Being a decent wind player is always a plus here.
I can see the validity of both lineup constructions this week. I believe the balanced route will become more popular due to the combined factors of people not wanting to pay this much for guys like Fleetwood and people probably don’t love the $6K range. I will have some of both, but the more I dive in the more I like going stars and scrubs. You will see why in the next section.
$10K + RANGE
Very interesting here with Fleetwood being the highest priced. Not sure I’ve ever seen that and I don’t think I will be going there. Woodland and Fowler are also in this range. Rickie has a really good history here but I just don’t like where his game is. Gary also has some top finishes here and is coming off a 12th last week. He is my 2nd favorite up here.
- Brooks Koepka ($11,200) – Brooks is my guy this week. I really like the way his game sets up for this course and you can see he likes it from recent results (2nd a year ago). Over the last 50 rounds he ranks 3rd in my stat model and does everything we would want here well. There is a reason he has won 2 US Opens and 2 PGA Championships. He avoids big mistakes and takes what the course is giving him. I don’t think he will get super popular due to the fact that people hate playing him in general, but especially in non-majors. LOVE Brooks for your stars and scrubs builds this week.
I could see starting a lineup here or maybe trying to squeeze one of these golfers in with Brooks. Let’s jump right in.
- Viktor Hovland ($9,500) – Winner last week in Puerto Rico. I hate that I wasn’t on him, but that is how it goes when guys win these cross field events as the highest price guy. Anyway, I usually don’t play guys coming off a win but I think this could springboard a guy like Vik. These young guns are hungry. Viktor has excelled at tougher tracks (2019 US Open) and I really like that correlation to this event. He ranks 1st in my stat model this week and does a lot of things well. Let’s ride.
- Sungjae Im ($9,300) – I see some validity to going balanced in cash most weeks and this one is no different. Sungjae is someone I would play in cash and GPPs but he is as steady as they come for cash. He is a great iron player which is exactly what we are looking for.
Notables – Erik Van Rooyen
There are a couple guys that stand out to me in this range. It will depend on my lineup construction as to how much of them I have. Like I mentioned on the pod, the bottom part of this field isn’t super strong so I think a decent amount of ownership will come here in balanced builds.
- Emiliano Grillo ($8,000) – I will happily play some Grillo this week. This is a place he has had some experience at over the last 4 years with an 8th place finish in 2018. It’s easy to see why he should excel here. This guy is great with his irons, rating 1st on approach and 1st in ball striking for me over the last 50 rounds. He is coming off a 3rd last week in Puerto Rico and I am hoping he found something there in his game that he brings here.
- Joaquin Niemann ($8,700) – I am on Niemann a lot and see no reason to change that this week in GPPs. He ranks right up there in most of the stats I’m looking at and in this field I think he can compete. He fits a lot of different builds this week as either the 2nd guy in for stars and scrubs and 2nd or 3rd in for balanced.
Notables: Ryan Palmer
This is where we can see that the field kind of starts to drop off, but it could be where we find some value and help us get in guys like Brooks.
- Harris English ($7,800) – I really liked him coming into the year and his type of game should suit him here. He was 12th here a year ago and he rates out great for me in SG: Ball Striking and bogey avoidance. He has been really good off the tee lately and should be able to position himself to hit these greens. I like him at the price this week.
- Russell Knox ($7,600) – Going to be a tough decision for me if I have to decide between Knox and English. Knox has a 2nd and 3rd here in 2014 and 2015. He ranks 12th in my stat model this week. He is really good on approach and I always think of him as a guy that excels at tougher tracks. Being from Scotland he is also good in the wind.
- Doc Redman ($7,000) – I will be interested to see how Doc fairs on a tougher course. This guy has been great tee to green and that should help him here. He has made 4 straight cuts and I think he can continue that. If he can get hot he could be a difference maker this week.
Notables: Harold Varner III, Brian Harman, KH Lee
Some of these guys are going to pay off. I see some down here that I like and I think that will help me get to the stars and scrubs build.
- Bronson Burgoon ($6,700) – I always love me some Burgoon and I like him to surprise this week. He is going to be low owned and is a GPP only play but if he can get hot then he can pay off for us. He has played here 3 times and made ⅔ cuts including a 14th here in 2016.
- Tom Hoge ($6,900) – What a start to 2020 for Hoge. 12th, 6th, 5th, 25th and 60th in his 5 starts. He rates out very well and should be ready to go after a couple weeks off. After playing 5 weeks in a row I’m sure that was a much needed break. $6,900 is a great price for him and I expect him to have a solid week.
Notables: Joseph Bramlett, Tim Wilkinson
If you guys have any questions please let me know in the Slack! Be sure to listen to this week’s RotoPros PGA Podcast where Chris and I break down the course, weather and some of our favorite plays. Also, please join us tomorrow night in the chat for a live “pre lock” type chat. We will talk about the current weather forecast (if changed) and any updated plays we like! See you then!